ISS Humanitarian Service Award: Self-Storage Owners Orchestrate a Grand Ball

Mike and Linda McDaniel, owners of Preferred Self Storage in Highland Village, Texas, are one of four winners of the Inside Self-Storage 2009 Humanitarian Service Award. The honor recognizes self-storage companies and professionals who support charitable causes. A $2,000 grant was given to the nonprofit organizations, projects, events or programs endorsed by the winners.
It began with a Grand Ball. While principal at Lewisville High School, Mike was approached by a teacher who wanted to host a special prom for Circle of Friends, a school social club comprised of special-needs students as well as their families and friends.

“The idea was these students would feel more comfortable in that environment rather than at the regular school prom, and the kids would also have the support of their families while attending,” Mike says.

Though they planned to salvage decorations for the new event from the junior/senior prom, the foam and cardboard pieces were in pretty bad shape. That’s where Linda stepped in, rebuilding decorations with glue, tape, paint and glitter. “We have been building decorations and decorating this Grand Ball for 14 years now. It’s a magical night where the school cafeteria is transformed from ceiling to floor,” Mike says.

“With the help of Mike and Linda, we turn [the cafeteria] into a wonderland,” says Kay Sutton, chairperson for the Grand Ball committee. Themes have covered a wide range of fantasy from carnivals and castles to the Orient and pirate ships. For the past several years, the McDaniels and several committee members have created the decorations from scratch. The crew begins putting them together three months before the big event.

Community contributions—dresses and tuxes, flowers and food—help create a special night for the students. “Because our students aren’t able to have fund-raising programs, we rely on donations, gifts and volunteers,” Mike says.

Volunteers at Heart

The McDaniels built Preferred Self Storage in Highland Village, Texas, in 2006. The class-A facility has 481 units. The couple has lived in the community for 15 years, becoming involved in several charitable and church events. “We build and provide homecoming floats, stage-show decorations, Vacation Bible School stage scenes, banquet decorations, and even wedding and anniversary celebrations,” explains Mike.



Mike and Linda McDaniel host a Grand Ball at Lewisville High School in Texas.

Being involved in the community is important to his family, he adds. “By giving your time and energies, there is an intangible payback, a blessing that is hard to describe, but definitely worth the effort.”

Networking through community programs has become a valuable marketing strategy for Preferred Self Storage. “When your efforts show that you care, you are also showing your customers and potential customers that you will care about them as well,” Mike says. “You’re presence at community activities will form relationships, and will ensure your communities confidence in your ability to provide the best and most caring service.”
For more information about Preferred Self Storage, call 972.746.8500; e-mail the McDaniels at

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Get in Great Economic Shape at the ISS Expo!

The Inside Self-Storage World Expo hits the East Coast this fall with a powerful educational program that puts your business needs first. The Washington, D.C., event not only provides 27 educational seminars and five premier networking events, it offers four intensive workshops covering critical facets of the self-storage business.

Whether your focus is day-to-day facility management, legal issues, marketing and sales, or project development, the industry’s most esteemed experts will be at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Oct. 5-8, presenting the following a la carte programs: 

Marketing and Sales Boot Camp
Oct. 5, Noon-5 p.m.
Presented by Tom Litton, President of Litton Property Management

To be successful in self-storage today, you need to change your beliefs and tactics regarding marketing, sales and customer service. This high-energy, fast-paced seminar focuses on powerful techniques that can be implemented at any facility quickly and inexpensively―in person, on the phone and online. Tom will inspire you to think about sales and marketing in a whole new way. You’ll learn what really works and debunk the common myths. Today's self-storage manager/owner must be able to influence customers. You can get motivated and stay busy with these dynamic marketing ideas.

Legal Learning Live

Oct. 5, Noon-5 p.m.
Presented by Jeffrey Greenberger, Partner in Katz, Greenberger & Norton LP

Every self-storage business faces legal issues, which explains the popularity of Jeff Greenberger’s Legal Learning Webinar Series, produced by Inside Self-Storage. At the ISS Expo, Jeff takes this offering live in a concentrated four-hour session. He’ll cover important legal issues every owner/operator should know including lien sales, facility rules and regulations, abandonment and more.

Developers Seminar

Oct. 7, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Presented by RK Kliebenstein, President of Coast-To-Coast Storage

Is self-storage the right business for you? Get the know-how you need to get started—or avoid a bad investment. This half-day event is tailored to those interested in developing a new project or learning more about the industry, as well as small operators who want to grow their business. The seminar touches on all the most critical aspects of developing and building self-storage. Attendees are promised top-notch information as well as the opportunity to build a strong network of industry professionals and suppliers.

Management Workshop

Oct. 8, Noon-6 p.m.
Presented by Joe Niemczyk, President of Executive Self Storage Associates

Whether you’re new to the industry or looking to hone your management skills, this session is for you. Explore the ins and outs of daily facility operation and what you need to run a successful self-storage business. During this seminar, you’ll learn about operational essentials, customer service, sales skills, site marketing, legal issues and more. Facility performance is intimately tied to these day-to-day issues and tasks, in today’s competitive market more than ever. Every manager should hone his skills with this informative session. 

The ISS Expo focuses on the unique needs and challenges of self-storage owners, managers, developers, investors and suppliers. The D.C. program provides creative and effective strategies for cutting costs, increasing revenue and operating a successful business. For information on the complete education program, product and service exhibits, and how to register, visit

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ISS Blog

Some Boundaries, Please! A Day in the Life of a Resident Manager

When you’re a resident self-storage manager, maintaining an appropriate boundary between your personal and professional lives can be difficult. Your work is always there, staring you in the face. And there are those tenants (and owners, too!) who think that because you’re on site, you’re at their perpetual beck and call.
The following story was submitted by Gina Six Kudo, a resident manager at Cochrane Self Storage in Morgan Hills, Calif. Sound like an experience you’ve had? Share your own self-storage residence story on the blog!

Ever have one of those days when you’re off duty, the office is closed and you, the resident manager, finally get to take a breather? You can pick up that novel you’ve been meaning to finish, clean out a closet, do some spring cleaning, or (heaven forbid!) veg out to the TV or take a decadent mid-day nap. I recently had such a day, and was well into flitting from task to task, cleaning, doing laundry, baking and doing other things I enjoy.

The next thing you know, someone is tapping on the office window with a car key. Not a polite tap, but the obnoxious “Get your buns out here, I want service now” type of tap. Now, the tenant had just left a message on the phone, which I heard but couldn’t answer due to my hands being covered in the apple I was peeling and slicing. His situation wasn’t an emergency or anything that required immediate attention. Furthermore, I wasn’t dressed appropriately for face-to-face contact.

This gentleman (I use the term loosely) was simply one of those demanding, “I want it now” types. I figured, just this once, I’m not going to scramble, dress and run outside. I deserve one quiet day off. Just one. I don’t ask for much and am normally on call anytime, but this day I wanted to enjoy the mood and, quite frankly, be a bit selfish.

Need I tell you this was not going to happen? The man kept up a barrage of key banging, and then progressed to yelling and whistling. And then he stopped. Whew! OK, the guy got a clue, I thought. Breathe, relax, and re-find the happy place.
“BANG! BANG! BANG!” He starts again with renewed vigor on our home window! By now, my blood pressure is starting to soar. The happy place is gone. Mr. Inconsiderate has trampled it to death! Now he’s really going to get the response he asked for! He has it coming. I’m furious. I run for the coat closet, toss on a blazer, and head for the office intercom.
“MAY I HELP YOU?” My voice booms out of the speaker.
Mr. Inconsiderate: “Yes, the gate isn’t letting me in.”
Me: “But you have keyed in and out several times, AND you are inside right now with your car!”
Mr. Inconsiderate: “Yes, I guess you’re right, I am.”
Me: “So is there something you need that made all that banging necessary?”
Mr. Inconsiderate: “Is there someplace I can leave some cash for you?”
Maniacal, sinister, completely smart-aleck responses flow through my brain at a mind-blowing pace. Yet for some unknown reason, I respond in a kinder manner: “Do you really want to leave cash in the drop slot?”
Mr. Inconsiderate: “Uh, I guess not.”
Me: “Is there anything else?”
Mr. Inconsiderate: “No, I guess not. Thanks.”Ever notice how it’s the customers who think they’re above reproach, who demand everything, who are the biggest pains? Mr. Inconsiderate is very well-to-do; he just neglected his obligation to pay on time and demanded immediate response from me after hours. One of these days, they’ll take me away in a pretty white coat with buckles on the sleeves that hug my body tight. Until then, it’s back to trying to find that happy place ...

Small Businesses Turn to Self-Storage to Safeguard Assets

As more small businesses downsize, they are turning to self-storage to save money and safeguard assets until the economy rebounds.

Sovran Self Storage, Public Storage and Extra Space Storage have all reported an increase in revenue from small businesses.

Self-storage has proven to be a good investment even during a troubled economy. Extra Space Storage currently has a market value of $710 million. The company’s current share price is $8.34. 

Source:  Today’s Financial News (Baltimore),  Where to “Store” Your Money Now


Appeals Filed Against Vermont Self-Storage Permit

A new self-storage project proposed for Dorset, Vt., is being appealed twice, drawing more complainants than any other project brought before the town in the past 20 years, according to Joseph Bamford, the town’s zoning administrator. Two appeals have been filed against a zoning permit issued last month for the construction of three, 2,000 self-storage buildings on property owned by Brad Tyler. More than 70 residents oppose the project.
The appellants claim the permit violates the town’s bylaws and the self-storage project is not a permitted use in a village commercial district. Bamford disagreed, saying the project is permitted use under the law. The appellant filers are Jacqueline Pistell
and Eric Rosencrantz.
The second appeal requests that the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) conduct a public hearing and revoke the permit. The board will have 60 days to hold hearing. If not satisfied, the appellants could take the case to the state Environmental Court.
Source: Manchester (Vt.) Journal, Appeals filed on storage proposal

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A new self-storage project proposed for a hillside in Fayetteville, Ark., was denied by the local planning commission. Commissioners felt development of the picturesque parcel was environmentally inappropriate, unanimously voting to deny a conditional-use permit for the 43,541-square-foot facility. The plot is owned by the Ogden Family Trust, represented by developer Chad Childress.
Source: The Morning News (Fayetteville), Planning Commission Votes Against Storage Units And Scrap Metal Recycling

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IREM Acquires Two Self-Storage Management Contracts

Investment Real Estate Management LLC of York, Pa., acquired management contracts for Ample Storage in Woolwich, N.J., and Greenbrier Self Storage in Chesapeake, Va. Ample was built in 2008, and has 178 units and 25,425 net rentable square feet. Opened in 1997, Greenbrier has 487 units and 60,350 net rentable square feet. 
IREM provides third-party self-storage management fore more than 40 facilities in six states.

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Phase Two Completed on Northern Hills Storage, San Antonio

Cross Metal Buildings has completed construction on the phase two of Northern Hills Storage in San Antonio, Texas. The 18,200-square-foot, two-building addition includes 134 climate-controlled units. The facility originally opened in 1994.
The unit doors and hall systems were supplied by Janus International. Whirlwind Components, Dynamic Fasteners, Davis Metals and Bay Insulation Systems also provided materials for the new buildings.
Based in San Antonio, Cross Metal Buildings provides metal-building design, engineering, construction and consulting as well as turnkey metal buildings and packages.

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Unique Self-Storage Project Donates All Profit to Charity

United Storage Norwalk of Connecticut will open its doors this month as part of a new altruistic real estate development, all of the profit from which will be donated to Norwalk-area charities. Built by local developer Building and Land Technology (BLT), the project includes a new, four-story apartment building in addition to the 355-unit self-storage facility.
The project at 80 Fair St. was originally intended to be affordable housing built by the Human Services Council of Mid-Fairfield County, according to BLT President and CEO Carl R. Kuehner III. That plan was disrupted when a neighboring business, Norwalk Self Storage, sued the council, saying the project would block its signage.
The city asked BLT to acquire the land and help it move forward. The company built the self-storage to fund the housing project. It will donate all profit from the apartment and storage rentals to local charities.
United Storage Norwalk will host a grand opening on June 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to the entire community, the event will include family-fun activities, free food, a live band and storage discounts.

Source: Connecticut Plus, Local business encourages community to “use their space” and donates all profits to Norwalk area charities

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ISS Expo Attendees Get Discount on Post Guard Products

A new bollard cover that can help self-storage operators increase revenue will be unveiled Oct. 7 and 8 at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Washington, D.C. What’s better is it’s available at a discount to attendees who visit booth No. 135 during the show. 
Encore Commercial Products Inc. has introduced a new marketing tool for self-storage properties: MediaBollards, which convert bollards into instant billboards by using a specially designed flat front panel. The panels can be customized with promotional messages and logos, or imprinted with directional or safety messages such as “No Parking,” “Enter” and “Exit.” The cover fits easily and securely over a new or existing bollard or post. Made of low-density, UV-resistant polyethylene, the protective cover comes in a wide range of colors.
Attendees who visit the Encore booth during the ISS Expo will get a 15 percent discount on MediaBollards as well as the company’s other products. “This is the largest show discount ever offered by us,” said Bruce Liebowitz, president. Encore also manufactures and distributes Post Guard bollard covers and a variety of other protective products.
Created for self-storage owners, managers, developers, investors and suppliers, the ISS Expo comprises four days of educational seminars, product and service exhibits, and networking opportunities. It will take place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Oct. 5-8, 2009. With a theme of “Today’s Challenges Are Tomorrow’s Profit,” the event focuses on strategies for generating revenue and perfecting business branding in a demanding economic environment. For details and to register, visit

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